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Expert Investigates 10-Year-Old's 'Reincarnation' Claims

Boy Remembers Amazing Details of Past Life as Hollywood Actor 2:57

For more than a decade, Dr. Jim Tucker, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, has studied the cases of children, usually between the ages of 2 and 6 years old, who say they remember a past life. In his book, "Return to Life," Tucker details some of the more than 2,500 cases he has studied over the years, including Ryan—a boy from the Midwest who claims he is the reincarnation of a man who died more than 50 years ago. That man, Marty Martyn, was a former movie extra who later became a powerful Hollywood agent.

The following is an excerpt from Tucker's book and the chapter "He Came From Hollywood."

We were able to piece together a picture of Marty Martyn's life, and we could compare it to Ryan's statements. In most of our cases, people have tried to see if a deceased person could be identified whose life matched the statements the child had made. Here, there was only one guy that Ryan could have been talking about, because he had pointed to him in a picture. We weren't trying to see if there was anyone whose life matched Ryan's statements; we were looking to see if Marty Martyn's did.

What we found was that though Ryan was off on some of the details, a lot of what he said was correct for Marty Martin. It had seemed unlikely that an extra with no lines would have danced on Broadway, had a big house with a swimming pool, and traveled the world on big boats. But Marty Martyn did.

Marty was born in Philadelphia in 1903. Ryan had talked a lot about a sister and also mentioned another one, and Marty had two sisters. His mother had curly brown hair, as Ryan as said. Ryan was right about dancing in New York, as Marty and one of his sisters went to New York to be dancers. He danced in various reviews on Broadway, and his sister became a well-known dancer there.

Marty then moved to Los Angeles, having a life in Hollywood as Ryan had described. He began as an extra as well as a dance director. He then became a Hollywood agent, not the secret agent kind but a talent agent. He set up the Marty Martyn Agency, where he had notable clients such as Glenn Ford. Ryan had talked about people changing their names with the agency, which would certainly be true for a talent agency. Marty had several connections to Rita Hayworth, and his daughter confirmed he probably did know her. He may well have interacted with Marilyn Monroe as well, as his wife's family knew her.

Marty was a big sunbather, getting sunburns as Ryan had mentioned. Ryan said he used to take girlfriends to see the ocean, and there are pictures of Marty with girls on the beach. He enjoyed going there and watching surfers, which Ryan had said as well.

Marty was married four times. He became quite wealthy, and he and his last wife enjoyed an upscale lifestyle. Ryan said he had driven around Hollywood in a green car and that his wife drove a nice black car. Well, Marty's wife didn't actually do the driving, but they had a custom-made Rolls-Royce that was presumably a nice car. Ryan remembered an African American maid, and Marty and his wife had a number of them. Ryan said he owned a piano, and Marty had pianos in his house. The family lived in a fine house with a large swimming pool, as Ryan had described. Ryan said his address had Rock or Mount in it. And Marty Martyn's last house, that fine home with the big swimming pool? It was located at 825 N. Roxbury.